- Associated Press - Thursday, November 5, 2015

ASHLAND, Wis. (AP) - An Ohio man is charged with burning down a Baptist church in northern Wisconsin.

A criminal complaint filed in Ashland County Circuit Court charges 29-year-old Michael Valente, of Cincinnati, with arson of a building as a hate crime and criminal damage to a religious property.

The fire on Oct. 31 destroyed the Salem Baptist Church in Ashland. The fire was the second major blaze on Halloween in Ashland in as many years. Last year, a three-story brick building on Main Street was destroyed, and authorities have said that fire was also intentionally set.

Valente’s attorney didn’t immediately return a call for comment.


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